Preventing Parkinsons: Can Pomegranate Juice Help?

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by Nils Osmar. August 29, 2022. Medical Disclaimer

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is caused by a loss of nerve cells in the part of the brain called the substantia nigra. The largest risk factor for the development and progression of PD is the aging process. (See study: Ageing, neurodegeneration and Parkinson’s disease)

Two separate studies (one from 2019, the other from 2021) suggest that pomegranate juice may offer a degree of protection against Parkinson’s disease. But a 2014 study suggests that it might be contraindicated in individuals who already have Parkinson’s.

From the studies:

Chronic administration of pomegranate juice prevented dopamine depletion, thereby delaying onset and reducing PD symptoms in rats…. Urolithin A, a putative active metabolite formed upon pomegranate juice administration, probably contributed to this effect…

Source: Pomegranate Juice Ameliorates Dopamine Release and Behavioral Deficits in a Rat Model of Parkinson’s Disease

PD is the second most prevalent human neurodegenerative disorder, after AD, which is characterized by motor dysfunction associated with a loss of dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain substantia nigra pars compacta (SNpc) and formation of Lewy bodies, mainly composed of misfolded α-synuclein…

In conclusion, the results provide evidence for the beneficial effect of pomegranate juice in rotenone-induced PD and suggest that ellagitannins-derived metabolite—urolithin A—may be a plausible active compound.

Source: Neuroprotective Effects of Pomegranate Juice against Parkinson’s Disease and Presence of Ellagitannins-Derived Metabolite—Urolithin A—In the Brain

Contrary evidence

While the studies above are encouraging, an earlier study, published in 2014, suggests that in animals who already have symptoms of PD, pomegranate may exacerbate symptoms: See study: Pomegranate juice exacerbates oxidative stress and nigrostriatal degeneration in Parkinson’s disease

My thoughts – and what I’m doing:

The studies above don’t prove beyond doubt that eating pomegranates or drinking pomegranate juice will totally prevent Parkinson’s. And they suggest that pomegranate might actually be contraindicated in patients with Parkinsons’.

With that said, all three are animal studies; human studies are needed. But many studies suggest health benefits from eating pomegranates.

I eat pomegranates when they’re in season and take a teaspoon or two of pomegranate juice daily along with my post-workout smoothie. If I had PD, I would talk with my doctor about whether it made sense to add pomegranates to my diet.

Reminder: Nothing on this website is intended as, or should be taken as, medical advice.

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